The Beast and the Beauty of Barcelona
What do you like most about Barcelona?
We asked to 850 expats that have been living in Barcelona for at least 3 months to give in order their top 3 liked aspects about Barcelona. Mentioned in the top 3’s were quality of life (70%), climate (67%), culture (43%), sea (42%), locals’ character (30%), nightlife (17%) and food (12%).
Respondents rated quality of life as Excellent (32%), Good (55%), Satisfactory (12%), Poor (1%) or Very Poor (0%). These results are consistent with those of the previous question about what they like most about the city. If we analyze the answers by nationalities we see no relevant differences.
The optional comments left by 8% of the respondents help us to better understand what the quality of life means.
The comments speak of the gastronomic, cultural and leisure offer, the climate, the people and the public infrastructures:
“Optimal combination of climate, infrastructure, cordiality – open mind and cultural offer.” / “A perfect balance between the virtues of the Mediterranean countries and the organization of the countries of central and northern Europe.” / “Sea, mountain, city of medium size and quantity of means of public transport … although the ideal is the motorcycle.” / / “From the climate, to the international atmosphere, the leisure offer and the unlimited number of restaurants.” / “City always in movement, pleasant climate, economic food and always with new places to discover.”
Study and Infographic by OK Apartment
The factors that reduce the quality of life to the city are the economic situation, the lack of work, the low wage level and the massive influx of tourists.
“It would have been excellent but I cannot with the dirt and tide of tourists from the Rambla and surroundings.” / “The labor level has dropped a lot in the last 5 years.”/ “It has gotten worse in the last 4-5 years, before would have said that excellent.” / “Excellent if the salaries were higher”.
Largest factor (34%) – Barcelona’s Mass tourism in 3 steps
The most negative aspect has been mass tourism. One in three foreigners (34%) living in the city claim that Barcelona has a mass tourism that they do not like.
Much has been written about mass tourism in Barcelona and this is the first opinion poll for foreigners living in Barcelona. This group is an external observer of the day to day life of the city and its vision can become more objective than that of Barcelona’s self-complacent.
The most significant comments are:
“Excessive mass tourism” / “Too much tourism during the whole year” / “The sale of the brand ‘BCN brand’ has turned the city into a theme park” / “Many tourists. Behave as if the city were his, “
Study and Infographic by OK Apartment
Let’s analyze the problem in three steps: the data, the problem and the solutions.
Barcelona has less than 1.6 million inhabitants and is now receiving more than 8 million tourists a year. Growth has been very remarkable: 1.7 million in 1990, 3.1 million in 2000, 6.3 million (2006) and more than 8 million (2013).
It is the fourth most visited city in Europe, after London, Paris and Rome. It is the leading port for cruises on the continent and the Mediterranean. It is estimated that the wealth produced by tourism in Barcelona equivalent to 20% of its GDP.
It is a problem of sustainability of tourism and quality of life of citizens. Tourist growth in recent years has transformed areas such as Barceloneta, the Ramblas, the surroundings of the Sagrada Familia and the Parc Güell.
The tension between neighbors and mass tourism has materialized the following aspects:
- Replacing the neighborhood shopping fabric for souvenir shops bars and restaurants.
- The increase in the price of housing due to foreign investment and the incorporation of housing to a tourist use.
- The annoyances generated to the inhabitants by noises, traffic and the behavior of some tourists.
- The consequent exodus of population.
To understand the problem well we propose to see the documentary Bye Bye Barcelona that exposes from the hand of some of its residents the negative effects of mass tourism in the city of Barcelona.
Local authorities have long been taking measures to mitigate the negative effects of mass tourism. The current policies are oriented to the regulation of the offer of accommodation.
The year 2005 ceased to grant licenses of tourist apartments in the historical center and last July of 2015 the concession of all licenses of accommodation was suspended as a step before the creation of a plan of regulator of the sector.
This past February 23, 2016, an outline of the Pla Especial Urbanístic d’Alotjamients Turístics (PEUAT) has been presented, which regulates all lodging offers (hotels, pensions, hostels, tourist apartments and hostels) and manages their impact in the neighborhoods of the city . It provides an information: 73 neighborhoods of the city exceed 6.4 tourist beds per 100 inhabitants.
This plan is the basic piece of the administration to order the city’s tourist model and it highlights two lines of action:
- The intention is to reduce the supply of accommodation in the center of the city, keep it in the crown that surrounds it and increase it steadily in the rest of the metropolis.
- The new tourist accommodations can not replace any housing that had an effective residential use before the precautionary suspension of the licenses on July 1, 2015.
The city council wants to promote an equitable distribution of the benefits of tourism to all neighborhoods of the city and try to relieve the areas subjected to greater environmental and social pressure.